Today is June 1 that we were to set off for China!
For months, all of us, solar cyclists registered for the 2020 edition of the Sun Trip, have imagined ourselves en route to Guangzhou (Canton) in China. We dreamed of the countries we were going to cross. For some Turkey, Uzbekistan, for others Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and for all, China. We imagined discoveries, meetings, happiness and perhaps some misfortunes …
The images of the 2018 edition had largely contributed to fuel our imagination:
But the Sun Trip 2020 will not take place as we had dreamed!
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic!
Despite everything, the Sun Trip 2020 will take place in another form! Thanks to the energy and creativity of the organizing team! It will be Franco-French, over a period of one month, with a course of 3000 km.
I discover this amazing video made by Olivier Coste. He designed a solar powered machine to carry his equipment in a desert environment: “Solar Explorer”. In 2018, he crossed the Badain Jaran Desert in China. His vehicle allowed him to tackle the highest dunes in the world loaded with more than 150 kilos of equipment, water and food. Without such a carrying system, these arid areas would be inaccessible to a single individual. Congratulations to Olivier for this innovation!
Preparation for the Sun Trip 2020 was organized this weekend in Lyon. It brought together 30 participants from the fifty or so registered participants and took place in an atmosphere that was studious, fascinating and friendly.
To effectively prepare for this solar bike rally, many themes were addressed:
– administrative aspects, border formalities and visas,
– possible routes and variants,
– the cultural differences of the countries crossed,
– the operation of solar bikes, the technical regulations,
– monitoring of meteorology and its impact on navigation,
– communication: video, social networks etc …
This weekend also allowed everyone to meet the other participants. There were many informal exchanges, between conferences and workshops, around meals or over a beer, at all hours of the day and night!
It was an opportunity for rich meetings between experienced suntripers and newcomers, between French and English speakers, between technicians and travelers … The enthusiasm and the joy of sharing were visible on the faces.
Saturday evening, we celebrated the Chinese New Year in the presence of the Chinese Consul in Lyon and the 3 Chinese SunTrip managers. On Sunday, Luc Giros presented his tour of Europe: more than 18,000 km traveled on the solar bike used by Mickaël Joguet during the Sun Trip 2018.
We would like to thank Florian Bailly for organizing this fruitful moment, as well as all the members of the organization who contributed to the smooth running of the event: Béatrice and Yannick, Christophe Bayard (Vécolo), Benoit Ganivet, Annick-Marie who brilliantly provided case-simultaneous translation for non-French speaking participants.
Christophe Dugué participated in the Sun Trip Tour in 2017, and also in 2019 with his wife Stephanie. His professional world has allowed him to build himself powerful, rigid and lightweight solar panels. Indeed Christophe works at Photowatt, a French manufacturer of panels.
In front of the cameras of France 3, he talks to us about his motivations and his approach, and Stéphanie explains to us how much his solar bike helped her in the ascent of the big alpine passes.
Parcourir les Alpes ou pourquoi pas rouler jusqu'à l'autre bout du monde en toute autonomie dans des conditions plus écologiques qu'en voiture ou en camping car, c'est l'avantage du vélo électrique solaire. Christophe Dugué s'est lancé en participant au Sun Trip, une course à vélo solaire unique au monde. #pourlaplanète The Sun Trip
On July 16th, after the Mont Cenis pass, the challenge of the best climber of the Sun Trip Tour was held at the Finestre pass in Italy. Find the emotion of the moment thanks to the report produced by Agence Zeppelin!
The photo album of the 9th day of the Sun trip Tour 2019: departure from the Bourg-Saint-Maurice campsite, stop at Val d'Isère in the electric and hybrid vehicle show, memorable meal between suntripeurs, ascent to the Iseran pass, beautiful descent to Lanslebourg Val Cenis and welcome to the cottage!
Find all the atmosphere and landscapes of the 8th day of the Sun trip Tour 2019 in the July 13th photo album, from Chamonix to Bourg-Saint-Maurice: the repair of the shift lever, the climb to the Col des Saisies, the magnificent landscapes of Cormet de Roselend …
Find the images of the adventures of the 7th day of the Sun trip Tour 2019: the quiet journey with Ralf, Divonne-les-Bains to Sallanches where Jean joined us, and after Sallanches, the course of the day which switches after an unfortunate passage at a bike shop, the necessary break at a village party, and the late arrival in Chamonix due to technical problems.
It was the 6th day of the Sun trip Tour 2019, we all had the goal of arriving at Divonne-les-Bains in the afternoon: the soft morning light on the church of Villars-les-Dombes, meetings in Pont-d'Ain: Béatrice and Yannick, Antoine, Arnaud, Laurent and Corentin with their vintage tandem, the deep color of Lake Nantua …
Find all the atmosphere of the 2nd day of the Sun trip Tour 2019 in the photo album of July 7th: From Saint-Flour to Cheylade, the landscapes of Cantal, swimming, camp, meal, dusk on the lake waterfalls… Pictures + short videos:
Find all the atmosphere of the first day of the Sun trip Tour 2019 in the photo album of July 6th: the presentation of the bikes on the place of the Town Hall of Puy-en-Velay, the first kilometers through the landscapes of the Haute-Loire, the valley of Allier until Saint-Flour.
A concentrate of Sun Trip Tour seen by the Zeppelin agency. A big thank you to Sammy, Bruno and Julien for this video that sublimates this collective adventure in beautiful landscapes of the Auvergne and the Alps!
This Sun Trip Tour 2019 was slightly sportier than the 2017 edition, a little more kilometers and more altitude. But everyone had the freedom to choose the easiest or most difficult routes. And the suntripers who dreamed of winning the challenge of the best climber had to blow up their counters, especially for the elevations more than for the distances! For me, the routes were constrained by the different repairs to be done more by the sporting challenges. But I still managed to pass passes deemed difficult, such as the Col de Finestre and Col d'Agnel, with beautiful landscapes.
The after Sun Trip Tour: from Valence to Dijon via Châlon-sur-Saône
On July 20th, I leave Valence in TER to join Châlon-sur-Saône. I use the idea that guided the design of my solar vehicle: to take the train. Principles: – a standard bike is always accepted in the TER and in some TGV, – the trailer is acceptable with the panel vertically, it does not take more space than a bike. For the moment, I have taken the train a dozen times in France and Switzerland, I have never been opposed to refusal.
If necessary, we can reduce the length by sliding the 3rd panel on the 2nd, in less than 10 minutes.
In some trains (TGV and Lyria), we can create the equivalent of a cover with trash bags and big scotch (and for the bike, disassembly of the wheels, and when I have the time, pedals and handlebars before putting it in a bag).
July 21, I finish cycling back to Dijon, at 34 km/h average speed.
Sun Trip Tour 2019 – 7th day
We start from Divonne-les-Bains in procession, then we scatter each at our own pace. Some choose the main route with a simple route, others prefer the route drawn by Vécolo, on small roads with calmer traffic, but more tortuous. The sun is full, and our batteries remain 100% charged throughout the day.
At the end of the afternoon, telling a bike shop, I decided to have my rear derailleur adjusted. But bad luck gets involved: the young mechanic can not do it, too bad, I'm leaving. But I will discover a few miles later that the controller does not work anymore: I can not change gears. It's past 7pm, the store no longer answers the phone. I have the morale in the socks because we have to attack a long coast to Chamonix. Ralf and Jean cheer me up, they will accompany me to destination whatever happens. By hand, I install the chain on the largest pinion and we begin the climb. Halfway through, a village party allows us to regain strength. We arrive at the cottage around 21:20 where we will be greeted by the cheers of other sun-trapters!
SunTripTour2019 – July 11th, 6th day In the crossing of the Dombes until the Ain, I appreciated the adobe buildings (groomed earth in a banche) and in the walls, the use of the pebbles in a decorative way in association with the brick. This morning, veiled sun, the panels produce 50W, it is necessary to roll with precaution, not to push the assistance. The improvement of the mid-day does not continue the afternoon, too bad! The itinerary prepared by Vécolo, through fields and woods, is very pleasant. But after a few kilometers of chaotic dirt road along a river, we decide to find a more rolling track. The Komoot application takes us on small roads without traffic, it's a treat. And this is how we find Olivier and Norbert, Catherine and Jean-Michel, who also use this application. Arrival in Divonne-les-Bains: Ann, Peter and I arrive together, we are interviewed by a lady very interested in our bikes; she posts her video immediately on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bzx3cZ9Hu0q/?igshid=bxqo5bharnzh Thanks to the city of Divonne-les-Bains for giving us this hearty meal! PS: surprise at 3am: automatic watering starts on the beach, it's panic in the camp. Norbert and Olivier are the most affected, their duvets sound soaked. Benoit takes a laugh. Bikes have nothing. I am relieved because in a half sleep, the crackling of jets made me think of a battery fire.
Sun Trip Tour 2019 – July 10, Day 5 A day like the others: this morning, the attachment of my trailer broke (Dirke had noted this weak point while examining my bike), it is normal, the diameter of the bolt was too weak. I continued to Villefranche-sur-Saone by fixing the drawbar with 2 Rilsan (these necklaces are great!). Finally, I imagined a solution that will be more durable, I hope: at a garage I soldered the fastener directly on the wheel nut. Thanks to this welder who saved me! I make a break for various repairs and suddenly, I drive little: 25 km in the morning and 30 km in the evening. Cherry on the cake: I have new shoes, it's great because by dint of braking with the feet, the others had more sole! Life is beautiful …… until tomorrow! And tomorrow, what will be the challenge, the problem situation?
4th day of the Sun Trip Tour: 9th of July A beautiful morning at the Vulcania Park, the public discovered all the prototypes of solar bikes, we took advantage of the Park's animations. Special mention for the packed lunch with local and artisan dishes served in glass containers. Departure by caravan then the 55 participants scattered to follow varied routes: we have indeed 3 days to arrive at Divonne-les-bains, about 325 km. I traced straight through Thiers where I met Christophe Bayard and Silvia Plozner. Thanks to a faithful sun throughout the day, I managed to reach L'Arbresle at 20:30, after 187km of road. Nice day, the heat wave has finally left it helps to pedal! https://www.relive.cc/view/2518501243
Sun Trip Tour – July 8, 2019: Everyone cares about this day of 120 km with a lot of elevation. Me, I have other concerns, in the first place, my brake pads that weaken again: after an hour of driving, I am forced to brake with feet to go down to Condat! Fortunately, Gilbert and Jean de Vécolo are waiting for me: they have been warned of my worries by my friends. Thanks to them, I can find in Super-Besse 3 pairs of pads of the right model! I warmly thank Fred of VTT ÉVASION for having kept in his store these plates became vintage today. Thanks to Vécolo's friends without whom rescue would not have been possible! But another surprise awaits me: my solar panels no longer produce 1 Watt! I put 1 hour to find the fault: the fuses of my solar regulators melted to the heat. I beckon on the side of the road, it is Gisele who saves me by offering me two beautiful new fuses. Thank you Gisele! It is almost 13:30 and I have 100 km and a lot of altitude! I will arrive at my destination at 8 pm, in extremis for the meal!
Sun Trip Tour- July 7, 2019
Today, the stage in Cantal is short, without significant elevation. We cross wild landscapes, villages with old houses in volcanic stone in various shades, from warm brown to gray. I think of the times when these villages were populated and productive, around agriculture, handicrafts and small industries. My bike pulls me from my daydreams, he recalls to me: the brakes work less and less well, despite the pad sanding done this morning. I am forced to brake with the foot and it heats strongly in the shoe!
In the evening, we all meet for a bivouac around the lake of Cascades Cheylade. While the sun recharges our batteries, swimming refreshes us and allows us to do a bit of washing. The day ends with a dinner on the terrace of a restaurant at the lake, in a cheerful atmosphere.
Sun Trip Tour – July 6, 2019
After the speech of the elected officials and Florian Bailly, this is the long-awaited departure: we jump on the road, impatient, some are wrong itinerary, retrace their steps. Finally, we drive through these landscapes of Haute-Loire, between woods, moors and fields … Wild and rough atmosphere. Suddenly arise basaltic organs at the bottom of the valley of the Allier. Further on, there are other groups of sun-trapers, stopped around a beer. At the end of the day, the campsite welcomes cyclists who are tired and happy.
Sun Trip Tour – July 6, 2019
We are 55 solar cyclists to start this morning from Le Puy-en-Velay: each suntripeur installs his solar bike on the Place de l'Hotel de Ville in an atmosphere of excitement and enthusiasm . A great animation reigns, the exchanges with the public are rich, the passionate conversations …
Speech of elected officials, presentation of the Sun Trip by Florian Bailly:
A beautiful atmosphere of enthusiasm, sharing with the public. The happiness of finally embarking on this adventure, to finally take the road after months of work, preparation, tests, joys, disappointments sometimes and always creativity!